The news today that Hearts mystery “benefactor” wants to give Scottish football an undiscolsed seven figure sum has caused some disquiet across our game.
He and his people have been at pains to say that the proposed “cash injection” into the game is in no way connected to the SPFL vote on reconstruction, but it’s nevertheless being dangled as an incentive. There needs to be full transparency on this matter.
This guy has already given £9 million to Hearts in the last few years; his tie with that club is obvious.
Budge has only now introduced him … at a time when she’s spearheading league reconstruction, with the benefit that it will spare them relegation.
This is where a lot of folk are going to have a serious problem with this.
First, what is this guy’s interest in Hearts?
Does he hold shares? Does he want on the board? Is his £9 million over the last five year’s loans or equity?
Does it show up in the club accounts, all well and above board?
Did he just gift it to the club?
Are we supposed to believe that?
And if so, doesn’t this come close to the definition of “financial doping” for which we have tried to hold Sevco to account since it first crawled from Rangers’ grave?
I would find it funny, to be frank.
Hearts are a club that has clearly learned nothing from its last flirtation with a rich benefactor who left them dependent on his largesse. If they are still spending money they don’t have it is almost hilarious that it hasn’t even been good enough to keep them in the league.
That’s bad management alright.
Still, this is an issue of real concern.
This guy clearly has some relationship with the Tynecastle club, and this offer of his might not contain any overt conditions, but that discussions went on with him and the SPFL, in which Budge was in attendance as some kind of broker, we have every right to wonder if there is some kind of quid pro quo.
Those who were up in arms over Dundee’s ever-changing vote are oddly silent on what might be an even bigger scandal; an actual cash-for-votes one, developing right before our eyes.
If this is an offer to the clubs, non-contingent on league reconstruction, then let’s all hear the details of it.
The SPFL should ask this guy for a formal, written, proposal and publish it for everyone to see, and make it clear that it is entirely separate from the reconstruction vote.
But if the SPFL tries to get one single club to change its vote or cast it in a certain way because this money is on offer then we are witnessing exactly the kind of corruption that should end people’s careers. It’s bad enough if Hearts are saved because of a grubby backroom deal … where will the “sporting integrity” be if someone linked to them is allowed to buy their way out of it? It won’t be reconstruction at all then, will it?
It’ll be a corrupt sell-off of our game to benefit one team … and we’ve had enough of that already.
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